Manga Giveaway: Kodansha Comics Collection Winner

Happiness, Volume 1Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai, Volume 1
The Prince in His Dark Days, Volume 1Welcome to the Ballroom, Volume 1

And the winner of the Kodansha Comics Collection manga giveaway is… Amaya!

As the winner, Amaya will be receiving not one but four of Kodansha Comics print debuts from 2016: Shuzo Oshimi’s Happiness, Hiroyuki Takei’s Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai, Hico Yamanaka’s The Prince in His Dark Days, and Tomo Takeuchi’s Welcome to the Ballroom. As I was reflecting back on the manga of 2016, I found that I was particularly impressed by the increased variety in Kodansha Comics titles. And so, for this giveaway, I asked that participants tell me about their favorite 2016 Kodansha Comics manga, debuts or otherwise. Akiko Higashimura’s Princess Jellyfish seems to have garnered the most love and attention, but be sure to check out the giveaway comments for everyone’s excitement over all of the great manga released by Kodansha Comics this year!

Kodansha Comics 2016 print debuts:
Attack on Titan: Lost Girls written by Koji Seko, illustrated by Ryosuke Fuji.
Attack on Titan Coloring Book by Hajime Isayama
Attack on Titan Anthology edited by Ben Applegate and Jeanine Schaefer
Cells at Work by Akane Shimizu
Complex Age by Yui Sakuma
Fairy Tail: Twin Dragons of Saber Tooth by Kyouta Shibano
Fairy Tail: Zero by Hiro Mashima
Fire Force by Atsushi Ohkubo
Forget Me Not written by Mag Hsu, illustrated by Nao Emoto
The Ghost and the Lady by Kazuhiro Fujita
Happiness by Shuzo Oshimi
In/Spectre by Chashiba Katase
Interviews with Monster Girls by Petos
Maga-Tsuki by Hoshino Taguchi
Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai by Hiroyuki Takei
Neo Parasyte F by Various
Paradise Residence by Kosuke Fujishima
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Side: P3 by So Tobita
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Side: P4 by Mizunomoto
The Prince in His Dark Days by Hiko Yamanaka
Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura
Queen Emeraldas by Leiji Matsumoto
Real Account written by Okushou, illustrated by Shizumu Watanabe
Spoof on Titan by Hounori
Sweetness and Lightning by Gido Amagakure
That Wolf-Boy is Mine! by Yoko Nogiri
Welcome to the Ballroom by Tomo Takeuchi

As always, thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in the giveaway and for sharing your favorite Kodansha Comics manga with me. 2016 was a great year for manga and 2017 looks like it should be pretty darn good, too. But before we get to that, I hope to see you again for this year’s last giveaway!







Manga Giveaway: Kodansha Comics Collection Giveaway

Both the last Wednesday and the last day of November has arrived, so it is once again time for a giveaway at Experiments in Manga! Last week was Thanksgiving in the States which happens to be my favorite holiday. (I really enjoy the delicious food and spending time with my family. The extra sleep helps, too.) As is now tradition, I like the giveaways for November to involve a whole feast of manga in order to celebrate. This year you all have the chance to win four first volumes of manga released in English by Kodansha Comics in 2016: Shuzo Oshimi’s Happiness, Hiroyuki Takei’s Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai, Hico Yamanaka’s The Prince in His Dark Days, and Tomo Takeuchi’s Welcome to the Ballroom. And, as always, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Happiness, Volume 1Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai, Volume 1The Prince in His Dark Days, Volume 1Welcome to the Ballroom, Volume 1

As the end of 2016 steadily approaches I’m starting to think about the manga published in the last year that I found particularly notable. Inevitably, I’m asked what my favorite manga is and I generally try to get away with mentioning a single publisher rather than a single title. This year, I’ve especially been impressed by the manga that Kodansha Comics has been licensing and releasing. Over the last few years Kodansha has been successfully expanding its catalog and demographic reach, offering titles that were at one point rumored to either be unliscensable or otherwise highly risky. Josei? Kodansha has it. Classic manga? Kodansha has it. Sports manga? Kodansha has it. Food manga? Kodansha has that, too. In fact, some of my most anticipated manga releases for 2016 were published by Kodansha Comics and looking forward to 2017 it seems as though that will likely be the case next year, too.

So, you may be wondering, how can you win a collection of Kodansha Comics?

1) In the comments below, tell me a little about a manga released by Kodansha Comics in 2016 that you particularly enjoyed and what you liked about it. (If you haven’t read or enjoyed any, simply mention that instead.)
2) If you’re on Twitter, you can earn a bonus entry by tweeting, or retweeting, about the contest. Make sure to include a link to this post and @PhoenixTerran (that’s me).

And there you have it! Participants in the giveaway have one week to submit comments and can earn up to two entries. If needed or preferred, comments can also be submitted directly to phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com and I will then post them here in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on December 7, 2016. Good luck!

VERY IMPORTANT: Include some way that I can contact you. This can be an e-mail address in the comment form, a link to your website, Twitter username, or whatever. If I can’t figure out how to get a hold of you and you win, I’ll just draw another name.

Contest winner announced–Manga Giveaway: Kodansha Comics Collection Winner


My Week in Manga: November 7-November 13, 2016

My News and Reviews

Last week was pretty quiet at Experiments in Manga (like most weeks these days, really) but I did finally get around to posting October’s Bookshelf Overload for those interested in some of the cool things I picked up last month. Last week was pretty stressful for a variety of reasons so I wasn’t online much, but I did recently find out about two Japanese novels scheduled to be released in translation next year that I’m very excited about. In May be on the lookout for Minae Mizumura’s Inheritance from Mother. Only two of Mizumura’s long works have been translated so far–A True Novel which in part is a reimagining of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and the utterly fascinating nonfiction treatise The Fall of Language in the Age of English–both of which were tremendous, so I’m really looking forward to reading more by Mizumura. And in June look for Tomoyuki Hoshino’s Me, a novel exploring themes of identity. Hoshino’s stories are frequently challenging and unsettling but I find that it’s well-worth the effort it takes to read them. Like Mizumura, currently there are only two books by Hoshino available in English–the novel Lonely Hearts Killer and the short fiction collection We, the Children of Cats which in particular left a huge impression on me–so I’m happy that there will be a third.

Quick Takes

Cells at Work!, Volume 1Cells at Work!, Volume 1 by Akane Shimizu. Sometimes the premise of a manga is so fantastically odd that I can’t help but be curious. Cells at Work, in which the cells of the human body, bacteria, and such are literally personified, is one such series. It’s also an educational manga–readers may very well learn a thing or two about microbiology and human anatomy and physiology thanks to Cells at Work (assuming they weren’t already familiar with how the body functions). Although there are recurring characters, the first volume of Cells at Work is fairly episodic, mostly focusing on the immune system’s response to injury and potential infection. Things are more exciting when the world seems like it’s about to end and a catastrophe must be averted. Bacteria are portrayed like monsters and villains out of some sort of super sentai show. White blood cells are fairly cool and laid-back, at least until they’re fighting off invaders and are completely overcome by maniacal bloodlust. Influenza causes a zombie outbreak. Cedar pollen triggers an apocalyptic allergies. Sneezes take the form of enormous missiles. Cells at Work is actually kind of ridiculous and over-the-top (with artwork to match), but it’s a great deal of fun.

ghostlady1The Ghost and the Lady, Volume 1 by Kazuhiro Fujita. As far as I can tell, The Ghost and the Lady actually makes up the last two volumes of the three-volume series The Black Museum. I don’t believe Kodansha Comics has any current plans to release the rest of The Black Museum, but if it’s anywhere near as good as the first volume of The Ghost and the Lady then I hope to one day see it. The Ghost and the Lady is admittedly somewhat peculiar. Basically it’s a supernatural retelling of the life and legends surrounding Florence Nightingale. Tormented by eidolons–spectral manifestations of ill-will and malice–Florence seeks her own death, asking a ghost known as the Man in Grey to kill her. He agrees, but declares he will only take her life once she reaches the depths of despair. (Grey, who haunts a theater, has perhaps seen Shakespeare’s tragedies one too many times.) The Ghost and the Lady is intense and enthralling with both Grey and Florence precariously balanced on the edge of insanity. The series is a little difficult to describe in a way that conveys just how great it is. Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from The Ghost and the Lady, but I loved the first volume and am looking forward to reading the second half of the story.

Requiem of the Rose King, Volume 4Requiem of the Rose King, Volumes 4-5 by Aya Kanno. I continue to thoroughly enjoy Requiem of the Rose King, Kanno’s dark and sensual reimagining of Shakespeare’s plays Henry VI and Richard III and of the historical Wars of the Roses. Shakespeare took some liberties when dramatizing England’s dynastic conflicts and Kanno has as well. The most notable difference in Requiem of the Rose King is the deliberate ambiguity of Richard’s sex–the perceived imperfection of his physical body contributing to his supposed demonic nature and already established mental and emotional anguish. Kanno’s artwork in the series is fittingly provocative, moody, and atmospheric. Dreams and reality are heavily intertwined which can occasionally make some of the transitions in the story difficult to follow, but for the most part it’s a marvelously effective technique. Anyone even remotely familiar with Shakespeare or history will know that Requiem of the Rose King can only end in tragedy. The never-ending political and personal betrayals along with the characters’ constant struggles to determine the destiny of the kingdom and of their selves makes for an immensely engrossing and provocative tale. I absolutely love the series.

Welcome to the Ballroom, Volume 1Welcome to the Ballroom, Volume 1 by Tomo Takeuchi. Even with the resurgence of sports manga in translation, I still wasn’t expecting that Welcome to the Ballroom would be licensed. Competitive ballroom dancing, despite being very physically demanding, probably isn’t what immediately comes to most people’s mind as a sport. In addition to that, in my experience many people are unfairly dismissive of dance and especially of men who dance. I, however, more than welcome a series on the topic. Welcome to the Ballroom is about a high school student, Tatara Fujita, who ultimately becomes interested in dance after finding refuge from a group of bullies at a local studio. At first he’s embarrassed and he hides the fact that he’s taking lessons, but at last he’s finally found something in his life to be passionate about. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t seem to have any natural talent for dance except for the uncanny ability to shadow and mimic another dancer. The first volume of Welcome to the Ballroom didn’t engage me as much as I thought or hoped that it would and some of the characters’ casual sexism was bothersome, but I’m still curious to see where the series goes from here, in part because it ends with quite a cliffhanger.